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Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker signs multiple criminal justice reform bills into law

Gov. J.B. Pritzker signs four criminal justice bills into law at Northwestern Pritzker School of Law in Chicago Thursday morning. | Provided Photo.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed multiple criminal justice reform bills into law Thursday morning, which aim to reduce Illinois’ prison population and encourage “the use of restorative justice.”

Surrounded by sponsoring lawmakers, criminal justice reform advocates and a victim of a wrongful conviction, Pritzker signed a package of legislation at Northwestern Pritzker School of Law in Chicago.

“An essential tenet of good governance is recognizing the need to change the laws that have failed the people they serve. My administration has infused that value into everything we do,” Pritzker said.

“The four bills I’m signing today advance the rights of some of our most vulnerable in our justice system and put Illinois at the forefront of the work to bring about true reform. Together, these initiatives move us closer to a holistic criminal justice system, one that builds confidence and trust in a system that has done harm to too many people for far too long,” he said.

The package of bills signed into law includes Senate Bill 2122, Senate Bill 64, Senate Bill 2129, and House Bill 3587.

Senate Bill 2122, which was sponsored by Senator Peters and Representative Slaughter, prohibits the use of deceptive tactics by all law enforcement when interrogating a minor. The bill takes effect on January 1.

According to the governor’s office, Senate Bill 64 “encourages the use of restorative justice practices by providing that participation in such practices and anything said or done during the practice is privileged and may not be used in any future proceeding unless the privilege is waived by the informed consent of the party or parties covered by the privilege.”

It was sponsored by Senator Peters and Representative Ammons and the bill takes effect immediately.

Senate Bill 2129 allows the state’s attorney of a county to petition for resentencing of an offender “if the original sentence no longer advances the interests of justice.” The bill was sponsored by Senator Peters and Representative Cassidy and takes effect on January 1.

Under SB 2129, victims of the crime will still be afforded all the rights outlined in the Rights of Crime Victims and Witness Act and a resentencing under the changes will not allow for the reopening of the defendant’s conviction, the governor’s office said.

The bill also allows the court to consider post-conviction factors, including prison disciplinary records, evidence of rehabilitation and reduction of risk to society due to age or physical condition, among others.

House Bill 3587 creates the Resentencing Task Force Act to study ways to reduce Illinois’ prison population through resentencing motions. It was sponsored by Senator Peters and Representative Slaughter and takes effect immediately.

The task force will have 15 members, three of which are to be retired judges appointed by the governor, each representing a different judicial circuit or district.

Illinois Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton said Illinois is “making it abundantly clear that justice can no longer be denied.”

“By bringing a restorative justice lens to policymaking, we are transforming our justice system and serving as a model for the nation,” Stratton said.